Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Epidemic measles in Shetland during 1977 and 1978.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981; 282 doi: (Published 07 February 1981) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;282:434
  1. J D Macgregor,
  2. J MacDonald,
  3. E A Ingram,
  4. M McDonnell,
  5. B Marshall


    During 1977 and 1978 an unusual epidemic of measles occurred in Shetland, affecting 1032 (5%) of the population. All age groups were represented, and 309 cases occurred in people over 15. Geographical distribution of notified cases ranged from 1% to over one-third of the population aged under 65. All the recognised complications occurred, with a significant excess of respiratory troubles (p less than 0 . 05). Complications were much less common in female patients (p less than 0 . 05). Only about 30% of children under 5 had been vaccinated against the disease, and, based on a sample population, vaccination was found to have had a protective effect of 92%. On cost effectiveness alone, uptake of vaccination by a community as susceptible as that of Shetland should clearly be encouraged and probably given high priority.